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Luers, South Side girls hope for more

The Bishop Luers girls basketball program entered last season with a string of three straight Class 2A state finals trips, with one championship.

But last year looked like the streak would end in a whimper after a 9-11 regular season.

The state streak did end, but the Knights put up quite a fight by making it to the semistate before a 74-55 loss to Eastern (Greentown).

With a move up to 3A this year, Luers returns around 85 percent of its scoring with five starters coming back and is looking to make a new streak despite the higher class.

"Those kids learned an awful lot last year," Luers coach Denny Renier said at Wednesday's girls basketball media day at Northrop. "They are more mature, and they went through the grind. So that's where the level of improvement will come from."

Luers will still be young with four key sophomores from last year, three of whom started a game.

One member of the team, senior Erin Butler, had knee surgery after the semistate loss in February. She has returned but is still recovering from the injury.

Another SAC team that got close to a state title, South Side, will be less experienced after returning two starters from last year's 4A state runner-up team.

"That's definitely been the game plan," South Side coach Juanita Goodwell said of replacing Ariana Simmons, De'Joyah Johnson and Lynnia Noel. "It's not like we didn't see it coming. We have some girls who got minutes last year who will have to play bigger roles this year."

Practice for the state's girls basketball teams will officially begin Monday.

High School Sports Editor Greg Jones on prep sports.

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